State Health Officials Trade Ideas on Preparedness

Days before a hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon, Virginia emergency medical personnel completed massage training. This turned out to be invaluable in caring for rescue workers with aching muscles from heavy lifting, and has emerged as a lesson learned from the terrorist attacks, Virginia Health Commissioner Anne Peterson said.

Health officials in states affected by terrorist attacks are taking stock of their emergency preparedness, and shared ideas on best practices with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials via satellite on Friday, Sept. 21.

State health officials want to talk about what happened and learn as soon as possible what can be improved in responding to emergencies, George DiFerdinando, acting commissioner of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, said. Health commissioners in states where terrorists attacked have put hospitals on alert for any health conditions attributable to bio-terrorism that could have been connected to the crashed planes. So far no evidence has turned up in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York or anywhere else to justify their fears, state health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sent 35 members of its Epidemic Intelligence Service to New York. The service is helping New York health officials and physicians monitor diseases and evaluate medical needs..

State health officials said they will make recommendations to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who was named by President George W. Bush last week to oversee homeland security.


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